My Year in Manga 2012

Thermae Romae volume 1

In past years, I’ve written a post titled “Best Manga of [Year]”. This year, I’m retitling. My manga reading has decreased, in part due to my interests swinging back a bit to graphic novels, in part due to what material has been available. This year, I’m just looking back at what I enjoyed reading this year. I’m still using similar criteria in determining “Best” for me — and looking back at last year’s post, even then, I was noting fewer selections.

Overall, I’m very thankful for whatever publications are still available to us. I know it can’t be easy to run a manga publisher these days, and I appreciate those who bring out the books I enjoy so much.

Best New Manga

I was glad to see that some new series came out that I enjoyed reading, enough to eagerly anticipate future volumes. These are those titles, in alphabetical order:

Thermae Romae volume 1

Best Continuing Manga

It’s sometimes embarrassing, but I look forward most to reading new volumes of Bakuman, which will likely conclude next year. Volumes 9-17 came out this year, so there was plenty of reading.

They’re released on much different schedules, but at least we got new volumes of Yotsuba&! (book 11), Ooku (book 7), and A Bride’s Story (book 3) this year, once for each series. I was also glad to see Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service get two volumes, 12 and 13.


Fewer publications, as noted above. Although JManga is still going strong, I’m really only paying attention to books in print. I’m now thinking of Start With a Happy Ending, which might be the last Digital Manga book in print, given their hiatus announcement.

Historical releases. It’s wonderful to be able to read older, classic stories to get a better idea of the roots of the medium. Message to Adolf, mentioned above, is, in my opinion, the best starting point to learn about the work of Osamu Tezuka, whom every manga reader should be familiar with, while The Heart of Thomas let us see the roots of shojo manga.

I should also note those who are rescuing out-of-print manga, such as Vertical bringing back Paradise Kiss. I hope someone does the same with Aria soon.

While researching, I discovered that as of next year, I will have 20 years’ worth of manga on my shelves, beginning with a 1993 edition of Rumiko Takahashi’s Rumic World. Here’s to next year!


  • Ed Sizemore

    Congrats on 20 years of manga reading. I wish VIZ would reprint those old Rumic World volumes in a single omnibus edition. I love Takahashi’s short stories.

  • insaneben

    Finally! Someone else who agrees with me that Aria should be license-rescued. After hearing way too many naysayers go on and on about why “Aria” shouldn’t be given another shot and so many tired arguments, it’s nice to know at least one renowned manga blogger shares my thoughts (even if I’m reading way too much into the second-to-last paragraph).

    As for my year in manga 2012, I think it can be best summed up as “Welcome to 2010”, since I only recently got through Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure (with Sgt. Frog up next… and a hundred or so volumes of various other series after that; thanks to my backlog, I’m literally living in the past).

  • I guess I’m lucky that I haven’t seen those arguments — do they revolve around Aria already having two chances? Nothing wrong with having a backlog. At least you have a stack of stuff you’re looking forward to reading.

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